Lithium Power (LPI) is a pure-play lithium company with three distinct project regions. One in South America’s brine region and two in Western Australia’s hard-rock, providing diversity in both geography and geology.
The company’s primary focus is on the development of Chile’s next sustainable high-grade lithium mine. The Project is located within the ‘Lithium Triangle’ in northern Chile, home to the largest and highest quality lithium brine deposits.
Location: Atacama region, Chile.
Ownership: 51.55% owned by LPI
Status: Definitive Feasibility Study (‘DFS’) for the Stage One released 1Q22
Resources: 1,905,000 t lithium carbonate equivalent, 4,950,000 t KCl
The Maricunga project lies adjacent to the Chile-Argentina Highway 31,170km northeast of Copiapo and 25km from the port of Caldera. A 23kV power line crosses the property and is connected to Chile’s 220kV power grid. It is a high-quality resource with high brine grades, high flow characteristics and high drainable porosity and permeability. The first brine sample produced in 2018, using Maricunga’s Pilot Evaporating Brine Pond, returned an indicated purity of 99.4%.
Since then, the Company has further advanced improvements to its production process design, yielding efficiency increases. The purity level of the Lithium Carbonate product is expected to be significantly higher compared to original samples produced in 2018. Such an outcome would allow the Company to reach a wider spectrum of customers with different quality requirements.
The Company has made important efforts to become the first Zero Emission lithium brine producer. That effort includes using electricity only produced by solar generators through long-term power purchase agreements; minimising water consumption in the production process design (self-producing through condensation recovery of more than 30 per cent of the water used); and strict protocols to ensure any negative environmental impact on the area provides an opportunity to set a higher standard for the whole industry.
Additionally, social aspects have been important to the Maricunga project, receiving open and ongoing support from both indigenous and civilian communities. These initiatives have been widely recognised by the Chilean authorities.
During Q2 2022, LPI announced that the Company had entered into definitive binding agreements to consolidate 100% ownership of the Maricunga Lithium Brine project in Chile (“Maricunga” or the “Project”) via two all-scrip mergers with its joint venture partners Minera Salar Blanco SpA (“MSB SpA”) and Bearing Lithium Corp (BRZ:TSXV) (“Bearing”) (together the “JV Partners”) (individually the “Transaction” or together the “Transactions”). The Company currently owns a 51.55% interest in Maricunga, with JV Partners MSB SpA holding 31.31% and Bearing holding 17.14%.
The Transactions result in LPI current shareholders increasing their effective ownership in Maricunga from 51.55% to ~57.9% which is ~12% on a relative basis. This has been achieved by LPI undertaking the Transactions at a 17.1% discount to the look-through value of Maricunga in LPI based on the 1-month volume weighted average price of LPI at the time the transaction was announced. As a result of the Transactions, proforma LPI will benefit from enhanced scale and control of Maricunga, which will significantly increase LPI’s attributable production to 15.2ktpa of battery grade lithium carbonate from Maricunga based on the 2022 DFS. LPI also believes that consolidating 100% ownership under LPI provides the optimal structure to oversee the rapid development of the Project by:
The consolidation of ownership will be undertaken via two separate transactions:
Based on the number of ordinary shares LPI may issue under the transactions, the proforma ownership of LPI will comprise ~57.9% LPI current holders, ~26.7% MSB SpA and ~15.5% Bearing securityholders (including option and warrant holders). The transactions will, following completion, result in LPI owning 100% of the project and position the Company to aggressively pursue the rapid development of Maricunga. The transactions, together with LPI’s previously announced demerger of its WA lithium exploration assets (“WA Demerger”), will transform LPI into a focused developer of the wholly owned Maricunga Project.